Bidvest Wits add to Free State Stars' woes

Bidvest Wits add to Free State Stars' woes
Elias Pelembe of Bidvest Wits

by Staff Reporter

Saturday Jan 05, 2019. 20:22

Bidvest Wits defeated Free State Stars 2-1 in an Absa Premiership match at the Goble Park on Saturday evening.

The victory saw the Clever Boys extend their lead at the top of the league standings, while Ea Lla Koto remained 14th on the standings.

Ea Lla Koto stunned their much-fancied visitors when they broke the deadlock just two minutes into the match.

Sifiso Mbhele's delightful cross found Harris Tchilimbou, who made no mistake as he beat Wits goalkeeper Darren Keet with a header to make it 1-0 to Stars.

The Clever Boys then created two chances, but Edwin Gyimah and Deon Hotto missed the target without troubling Stars keeper Badra Ali Sangare.

Stars winger Yusuf Jappie, who was causing havoc for Wits’ defence, forced Keet into a great low save after the visitors' defence was exposed.

The left-footed player then beat Keet with a powerful long-range shot, but the upright came to the Clever Boys' rescue and the visitors cleared their lines.

Wits looked dangerous from set-pieces and they managed to level matters from a free-kick just after the half-hour mark.

Hotto played a good free-kick into the Stars box and Terrance Dzvukamanja scored with a beautiful header to make it 1-1 for Wits.

Ea Lla Koto had a chance to restore their lead following a good move with the half-time break fast approaching.

Patrick Phungwayo played a lovely cross for Tchilimbou, who fired over the crossbar from inside the Wits box with the visitors' defence caught ball watching.

Stars and Wits were locked at 1-1 during the half-time break.

Wits dominated the opening stages of the second half, but they were kept at bay by Sangare, who made some great saves.

The Ivorian shot-stopper denied Buhle Mkhwanazi at the near-post, before stopping Hotto's goal-bound effort from a free-kick as the visitors piled pressure on Stars.

Serbian tactician Nikola Kavazovic, who was taking charge of his first official game as Stars coach, introduced midfielder Sibusiso Hlubi just after the hour-mark.

However, Wits coach Gavin Hunt responded by pulling out Lehlohonolo Majoro and he introduced striker Simon Murray six minutes later.

The visitors then took the lead for the first time with 17 minutes left on the clock and the Scottish marksman was involved.

Murray found Hotto, whose cross was superbly headed home by Elias Pelembe to make it 2-1 to Wits - beating Sangare hands down in the process.

Former Wits striker Eleazar Rodgers was then introduced by Kavazovic in the 79th minute as Ea Lla Koto searched for a late equalizer.

However, Wits stood firm at the back and ultimately, they ran out 2-1 winners over Stars.

Free State Stars (1) 1 (Tchilimbou 2')
Bidvest Wits (1) 2 (Dzvukamanja 31', Pelembe 73')

FS Stars: Sangare, Mbhele, Tema, Mahamutsa, Phungwayo, Makhaula (Bhengu 79'), G.Dlamini (Hlubi 64'), Mokhuoane (Rodgers 79'), Jappie, Tchilimbou.

Wits: Keet, Mere, Mkhwanazi, Johannes, Nonyane, Gyimah, Alexander, Dzvukamanja (Claasen 66'), Hotto, Pelembe (Weidlich 83'), Majoro (Murray 70').

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